The locations change, but the content is the same – that’s the principle of a good roadshow. The message must be conveyed, irrespective of the location. Aside from an unmistakable branding and setting, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality offer a custom-made depiction of chosen information.
- VR and AR: What’s the difference?
- How can a digital world of experience support the roadshow?
- Planning the location with VR: Sabine Reise, CEO of easyRAUM on the advantages
- Creating atmosphere – interview with Prof. Wolfgang Prinz on Augmented Reality
- 3 myths about roadshows and Virtual Reality
What’s the difference between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?
Virtual Reality (VR) allows you to immerse yourself completely into another world so that you don’t take notice of reality anymore. It requires an aid like VR headsets.
Augmented Reality on the other hand uses aids like smartphones and AR glasses to add further information to the real world.
How do Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality make sense at a roadshow?
Reproducible engagement marketing on a consistently high level – that’s what makes a roadshow great. Big companies use this tool to promote products or services. Together, the promoter team and the roadshow team travel from town to town.
In this case the event agency is responsible for:
- creative equipment.
- smooth running of e.g. set-up and dismantling.
The biggest challenge during a roadshow are the changing locations. Their dimensions and equipment always vary a little bit, no matter how accurate the planning.This is where the technology comes in. By using VR it almost doesn’t matter where the roadshow makes a stop. The visitors are completely enveloped by the world presented to them. But what happens when the VR headset is set aside? That’s when the promoters must show their quality. Can they build on the exceptional experience and impress the guest in his reality? Here, the event agency must create a fitting atmosphere. Giveaways that fit the topic or further information that is transmitted digitally often do the trick. As long as the dramaturgy is not interrupted. “The show must go on”, so to speak.
Augmented Reality however, has a deeper effect. Tablets that are available at the stand provide additional information. The visitors decide how deeply they want to immerse themselves into the subject. That also takes pressure off the booth personnel: Some of the visitors look for background information for themselves, the others can be attended to personally.
By using AR not only written information can be provided but also pictures, films or tours of the interior of machines or the human body can be simulated – without the need to put on glasses or leave reality. The connection to the booth remains intact.
So close as if you were there: planning the location with VR
Conveying knowledge: Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are the perfect tools to do just that. Event agencies however, already make use of VR during the planning and creative phase.
Here, the company easyRAUM sets the benchmark – literally. By using 3D visualisation true-to-scale drawings can be combined with intuitive creativity. The design can be incorporated in VR technology during the presentation to the customer. All that is needed are some cardboards. These are VR glasses that are actually made of cardboard. The customer can experience the room up-close.
Sabine Reise, CEO of easyRAUM, on the possibilities of VR in layout planning:
How many event agencies use VR for their presentations?
Approximately 100 of our customers currently use the possibility to send their 3D visualisations as Virtual Reality view to their customers. Of course, considering that there are 1,200 users and that all easyRAUMPro users have the integrated VR Generator, this is still a rather small percentage – too small. After all, this tool lays the foundation for an innovative planning of events and location marketing. It offers the possibility to inspect the site of the event or the location without the need to actually be on-site. While 3D planning and Virtual Reality have become the standard for large event agencies, smaller agencies mainly use these tools to ensure a competitive edge and to influence the decision for their project or event.
Which reactions have you experienced?
On the planner side we have seen enthusiasm for the decision-making reliability during the planning phase and for the possibility to score with attention to detail and customer-specific individuality during the event pitch. On the customer side we have encountered impressive reactions to the realistic experience, innovative diversity and future-readiness of Virtual Reality panoramas.
Does it facilitate the communication between event agency and customer?
Virtual Reality enables planner and customer to experience the event or location beforehand avoiding time-consuming site inspections. By using our 3D event software easyRAUMpro complete event locations can be individualised for the customer with just a few clicks. Requests for changes and creative ideas can be implemented at any time, the updated VR panorama forwarded to the customer. That boosts trust. Instead of a description the customer can rely on a realistic virtual copy, the event’s “digital twin” if you will. This flexibility guarantees customer satisfaction on the one hand and ensures planning reliability on the other.
Instinct and technology
2016 gab Prof. Wolfgang Prinz der EVENTAGENTUR artimage ein Interview zur Entwicklung von Augmented Reality und wie man mit ihr Atmosphäre schafft.
Personal details: Prof. Prinz is the head of the field of research cooperation systems and deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT in Sankt Augustin, Germany. Together with his team he develops solutions for the workplace of the future in Enterprise 2.0 and Industry 4.0. He combines concepts and techniques from the fields of communication and cooperation, Social Computing, mobile Virtual and Augmented Reality. Another element is the personalised support of education and training.
Augmented Reality will also enhance the event business.
artimage: Science and atmosphere. How does that fit together? Can technology even be combined with atmosphere?
Prof. Wolfgang Prinz: In the past, people thought that technology would destroy atmosphere. No demands in respect to design were made when it came to technical devices. The main focus was on the technology and its functionality. But lately, design concepts have developed the technology further so that it may create atmosphere. So that the action conveys a sense of well-being. Fields of research like Usability and User Experience make that possible. Take smartphones for example. On the other hand, people attempt to create atmosphere in rooms by using technology. Be it lighting or climate control concepts or large projections.
In your experience: Has it become impossible not to use technology?
I wouldn’t say that. Atmosphere can be created by using conventional means. But the technology creates new possibilities. If you want to redesign a room, you are more flexible when using displays and projections.
At your institute you are creating solutions in the field of combined and augmented reality – like games or demonstrator programmes – for exhibitions and fairs. That is not that different from the work of EVENTAGENTUR artimage. How does that look like?
We have different solutions. The main field of research is Augmented Reality – the augmentation of reality by means of additional fade-ins. That can be done using tablets or smartphones that are pointed toward something in order to look at it. Then, additional information is displayed during the video that you see. The invisible becomes visible. That is of special importance during further education, e.g. during physics experiments. Air currents or magnetic fields, sound and light propagation become visible. On the other hand there are so-called data glasses that display additional information in the person’s field of vision. There are simple editions that function as an information display, and there are glasses that fade in new information all over the field of vision. For instance, when you enter a room that has no furniture but you can see furniture and paintings all over the walls, or even people that are moving around. A whole new, very individual atmosphere is created.
How do people react? Are they intimidated or do they want to experience it again and again?
People are fascinated. There has never been any intimidation. However, technological progress notwithstanding, the glasses cannot be used for more than 8 hours as they are too uncomfortable. But that will change soon. There will be a revolution comparable to the smartphone. They are atmospheric devices, too. People say: I love my smartphone. They wouldn’t say that about their laptop.
So, people love technology? Is a good equipment part of the personal sense of well-being now?
Smartphones and data glasses are assistants. They are no longer a tool. They accompany us in every-day life, answer our questions. In the past, butlers or consultants took over that task. Through these devices, this service will soon be available to everyone.
Do people trust such a technical assistant?
If we overlook the fact that the odd navigation system has led a person into the river because there should have been a bridge, then: yes. But the data needs to be verified and compared to reality to prevent disasters from happening. Media skills must be honed.
Do people need more self-confidence?
Mostly it’s about instinct. If your inner voice says: “What the device is telling you can’t be possible”, then you should listen to that voice not your assistant.
Are you also working with psychologists?
Yes, sometimes. Especially when it comes to Usability. We are trying to design the systems in a user-friendly manner. Technology must not dominate the people. Only then will it be successful. The user stands at the beginning of the design process. Due to Rapid Prototyping the execution is no problem.
So, the fact that people can be wrong and have flaws is taken into account during the development of technical devices? As well as the question how and when they feel comfortable?
Exactly. A user story is created. We ask: What do we want the user to learn and to experience with the technology? The corresponding technology is developed according to the answer to that question.
Do you still use pen and paper?
Of course! Sometimes I also include the tablet. But generally, yes, I still work with pen and paper.
3 myths about roadshows and Virtual Reality
“VR? That’s just technical knick-knack. We don’t need that.”
Wrong. With VR contents can be exchanged and updated quickly. The setting remains the same. That saves time and resources.
“Technological possibilities like AR and VR only distract from the contents.”
Quite on the contrary: The new is especially alluring for visitors of a trade fair. They don’t walk past the booth, but rather want to find out which information is available. The technology is an impulse that can be followed-up by the sales team.
“The technology is far too complicated and cannot be handled by hostesses at the booth.”
The hostesses of our times are digital natives – people who grew up with digital media. The decision-makers on the other hand, often have a different history. We would like to encourage you to include innovative technologies in the conception of your fair booth. You will see that VR and AR have a motivating effect on the booth personnel.